Xanadu Weyr - Coastal Road
This coastal road runs parallel with the edge of beach that stretches endlessly beside the Caspian Lake. From coast to inland the dunes of the beach grow smaller and smaller until they eventually peter out into nothing but small moguls in the sand. The path is eventually seen to be blocked by a river that reaches the lake just south of the point where the road turns west and crosses a grassy meadow towards a sturdy wooden bridge that can be seen in the distance.
(Doing some seasonal stuff since apparently winter was eaten with the crashes and resets and…everybody loves snow! It'd be a shame to miss it!)
Someone's left the baby out in the snow! …okay, so 'left' may be an understatement. Yes, Skyler's out in the snow. …well. Sort of. He's not actually in the snow. More… on top of his mom… who's in the snow. Soriana's sitting cross-legged against a tree with Skyler in her lap. He's bundled up nice and warm in that soft alpaca-wool winter gear, and he's armed with an assortment of snowballs set along Soriana's leg. Admittedly… she's the one making the snowballs and setting them there. He's mostly pushing them off. Close enough!
Gasp! Who left the baby out in the snow? Who! .. Oh. Soriana, that's who! And Ka'el! Who is out in the snow too but not over there by the tree. He's over there by the hill of snow that he's made. Who knows what it's for? It could be the base of operations for a snow attack. It could be .. the base of a snowman. It could be the newest prototype for Galaxy's defense system. Or .. it could just be a pile of snow that Ka'el made because snow is made for piling. He crouches beside it packs a snowball in his gloved hands. Gasp! He's not really thinking of attacking a woman and her child, is he? Uh…..he sure looks suspicious as he arms himself and then starts creeping towards them, body hunched and steps slow, as if he really is camouflaged.
If parents can't be trusted, who //can be? The world is falling apart! …or… would be… if it weren't for the fact that Skyler's doing fine. At least… so far! There's this suspicious-looking fellow nearby (Soriana looks at him, but surely he's just innocently building a snow-mound) but Skyler's not concerned for his future. Oh no, not at all. He's busy pushing snowballs, and then… for variety… he grabs one and smushes it against his face. It's a favorite thing of his, lately! Things and Skyler's face go naturally together… at least sometimes. This time, it goes… crumble… together, and leaves a white-dusted baby with a confused look on his face. What. Was. That. Soriana… laughs.
Creep…creep…crreeeeeping closer! Oh yeah, Ka'el is definitely up to no good! You can see it in his beady eyes. Like a snake, slithering closer to his prey! But this snake has arms and his arms have hands and in one hand he holds a snowball. So. Not like a snake at all. Step, crunch. Step, crunch. Step…splat? He only successfully stalks halfway there when Skyler launches an attack! .. on .. er, himself. Ka'el blinks and pauses, staring at his white-faced, frosty son. The bewildered look that's now on his face. The snow that dribbles from his pink cheeks. It's too much! Ka'el laughs, forfeiting his own attack, if there was to be one, to instead succumb to a fit of laughter. "What happened there??" he manages to ask between chortles and guffaws, stumbling towards the two of them. "You beat me to the punch, Skyler!"
Maybe Ka'el launched a psychological attack! A cunning plot to turn families against each other and small children again… themselves. If so, he's apparently been quite successful, because Skyler has been snowed! He feels the cold sting of… cold… on his cheeks, and the drip of melted snow down along them. This… is weird. Is it bad? Weeeell he's not sure about that. It's cold, but… his parents are laughing. Nothing can be all that bad if they're amused, right? And so Skyler, even at this tender age, gives in to peer pressure and laughs instead of crying. Victory! …for… someone. Probably his parents? But maybe just everyone. Soriana shakes her head, laughing. "I… don't even know…" she answers Ka'el, peering down at their son. "He just…" Smush! She laughs. "Right in the face!" Great aim. Or…terrible aim… depending on how you figure it.
Laughing is so much better than crying! Ka'el will take laughing any day, and the situation just becomes funnier when Skyler laughs too. Oh, great. Now he'll make a habit of smooshing snow in his face! Or not. It can't be the most comfortable of feelings but .. hey, it's all fun! (til someone gets frostbite) Ka'el lumbers over to his family and squats down in front of Skyler, brushing gloved fingers against his face to wipe away snow. "My man. You've got to work on that. The goal is to throw them at someone else, not yourself! See, look." He plucks one of those premade snowballs and, after a devilish grin which is the only half-second warning she's going to get, attempts to smoosh it to Soriana's face. "See? The real target's your ma. Gotta get her reeeeal good." Yeah, let's give the boy something to really laugh about!
Comedy is tragedy happening to other people, which means that if it's funny (and cold and wet) happening to him, Skyler's bound to find it happening to someone else hilarious! …okay, so he could probably be acquiring better habits, but he could definitely also be getting worse ones. Snowball fights are a childhood tradition! …and battling the snow-demons inside is just a new variation. "He's not so good at throwing yet," Soriana notes. Except for things off his highchair tray, but… that doesn't really count. It's more just… dropping with enthusiasm or shoving with an assist from gravity. Details! And ones Soriana has no chance to enumerate, because Ka'el's coming for her with… a snowball! "Hey!" she says. She doesn't have much chance to dodge, either. She tries, mind you, but there's not much opportunity with Skyler still in her lap (and cheering on… someone or other, it's unclear who) so, while she twists and squirms, in the end she gets… snowballed! Right in the kisser.
Skyler's saving his throwing arm for when it counts. Future tantrums, during which throwing things is vital else the tantrum loses most of its potency. He'll learn this in due time. For now though, a tantrum is likely far from his baby mind, cuz everything is good now. Hilariously funny! His parents are riots, and this cold wet stuff isn't half bad! It definitely is providing comedic relief, for he laughs again as more snow drips down on him, residue from the attack on his mother (which was a hoot, if he does say so himself!) Ka'el says a triumphant "Ha!" as his hand finds its mark. Snowballed to the face! Take that, Soriana! He cackles as he pulls his hand away, beaming at her and their son. "And that's how it's done!" Yes, Skyler is learning so much. Undoubtedly he'll take this information and … probably forget about it by the time naptime comes around! But that's ok. There will be plenty of remedial lessons as he grows! "Learn from the master, Skyler. You'll by a snow master in no time." A half a handful of snow is scooped up and gently tossed to the boy. Plop! Snow, meet baby.
"Hmph!" Soriana says, on account of being covered in snow… which is cold. But she also grins, on account of being covered in snow… by Ka'el, and the fact that they're all grinning and laughing about it and, hey, peer pressure is like that. Or at least peer amusement! Plip plop goes the snow from her face and onto Skyler's head. Funny sounds! …everything's kind of funny, when you're half a turn old. Or at least… everything your parents think is funny. Babies are little copycats! Which means that Skyler's going to learn that throwing handful of things is awesome. This… can't possibly go wrong, right? Of course not. After that naptime (where he forgets everything he's temporarily learned) how about some creamed rice for a snack, huh? Lots of little white things that stick together. It'll be great! …life is confusing when you're a baby, but (at least for Skyler) it's also good. Soriana laughs. "He's going to look like a snow-monster baby." Especially with Ka'el tossing more snow at him! …and also at Soriana, given she's behind him. The powdery white scatters across the both of them, mostly on the coats that keep them warm. Skyler babbles and flails his arms. Throwing things! Yeah! …he's missing the part where he needs to actually have something to throw. Oh well. Baby steps!
Skyler, the abominable snow baby! No one is safe! Run for your lives! But who'd actually run from something as adorable as a baby in the snow, splattered with snow? No one, that's who! Because everyone likes a cute baby, and Skyler definitely is one that falls into that category, especially when donning snow-littered, baby-sized winter gear! Poor Soriana and Ka'el will have to think of this moment when they're left wondering just why their son has suddenly shown interest in throwing everything that's placed in front of him. Such adventures in parenting they have in store! This moment is another one of those adventures. Adventures in baby's first snow. Adventures in winter playtime! "Look, he's got it!" beams Ka'el, who's watching those arm flails…which totally are practice warm up pitching movements. Loosening up the arm… "He really will be a snow monster baby once he arms himself. There'll be no stopping him. Xanadu won't stand a chance!" He squishes a bit more snow into his hand, making a snow-blob which he extends to Skyler. "Here. You'll need it for your first attack. Use it wisel- hey!" So much for sage words! Skyler holds on to the blob for a grand total of 1.3 seconds before.. flail! It's not thrown. It's not even tossed. It's more .. dropped to the ground. Woohoo, he did it! (or at least one would think given the ear to ear grin that's on his face. Glee! Baby-Giggle.)
Mashed peas? Fling 'em! Toy blocks? Throw 'em wide! Skyler is an avid learner of things (when he doesn't forget them), but he's maybe a bit vague about figuring out what the appropriate lesson is to apply in any particular circumstances. Oh well. Life is an adventure, right? At least with (and for) a baby. Especially a dashing cold-weather-adventuring baby in parka and hat. This is why abominable snow babies are so dangerous - nobody expects the doom until it's gnawing on them! But… aww, who could resist? He's a baby! A snow-spattered and giggling baby. "…does he." Soriana grins. The baby may got it, but what does he got? "Xanadu's not ready for this." Faranth… neither was she! So clearly the Weyr isn't either. But Skyler's got it, and now - thanks to Ka'el - what he's got is a snowb- wait, no, what he's got is a beamful grin. Soriana laughs too, looking down at him and then up to Ka'el. "Well… maybe Xanadu's got a few months yet before we're completely doomed."
"Maybe a bit more time before doomsday, sure…" agrees Ka'el. Skyler's happy face is nearly impossible to not mirror after getting a gander at him, and he grins back at the boy as he goes back to exploring the fun phenomenon that is snow. Little hands and fingers are looking a little pinker than usual, but any discomfort that may be felt for now is ignored because fun is more dominant than the nip of snow, now that he's discovered it. More! He wants more! Ka'el moves to dig-swipes a spot for himself next to her beneath the tree to plop down in. Plop! "We should build snow people," he decides, looking back at his maybe snow for that he molded earlier. "A SnowSori, a SnowSkyler, and a Snowme. Do you think he's big enough to go sledding?" And maybe they can take him down a bobsled slope later. And then ski the slopes of a mountain! Slalom!
"It's okay. We know it's coming." Soriana returns her attention to watching Skyler as he plays in the snow. Building snow people? "He practically is a snow people. But we could build a second one." She grins, watching Skyler, then glances to Ka'el. Sledding… "Hmm. Maybe?" she says, looking back to Skyler. "If he's being held." And it's a very small hill. Bunny slopes! Small fluffy bunnies, for small fluff-wrapped Skylers. There's lots of winter adventures to be had! But… "…we should probably head in before long." Those pink cheeks may feel no pain now, but it's still chilly out… and she'd rather not test whether Skyler starts fussing before or after frostbite happens. "And have some lunch. Maybe mashed carrots." Snow-people noses! "…and ice cream." She grins.
Ka'el considers Skyler. He sort of is a snowperson already, isn't he? "True. So all we have to do is leave him outside in the yard for a few days for decoration. We'd win the 'most realistic snowperson' award, easy. If there was…such a competition." He pauses at that, brows lifting in inspiration. "Y'know, s'been a long time since we had a competition. Just us Xanadu folk, I mean. Nothin' like Winter or Summer games, but … remember the sand-castle building thing we had…some turns ago? I don't remember if it was a contest, but I'm thinkin' it was. Either way, we should host something like that again sometime. People like to compete, and if it's something fun, they might all end up like this." A gesture is made to Skyler. Happy bubbly snowy baby who is putting snow in his mouth. Meh. Face! Cold! … But not bad cuz cold mush turned into a cold drink… or at least, cold liquid that dribbles from his mouth. Ka'el pauses, watching the boy's antics. "Okay, so not exactly like that, but you know what I mean. Happy." And happy riders are efficient riders! "Aaand you're right. We should probably get him in before he turns into an icicle. But…tomorrow sledding if we can make it home before dark?" Super slow, yet super fun, babyfied sledding! And what better way to end a snow day than with ice cream? Ka'el laughs. "As long as I don't have to eat the mashed carrots."
"Also cutest snowbaby," Soriana says. She might be biased, but hey. Surely her and Ka'el's kid will win the awards. Through bribing the judges, if nothing else! …Ka'el has the bribe money ready, right? And Soriana can just threaten them with having to babysit him if they don't give him the prize. She brushes a bit of snow off his head - not that it much helps, given how much other snow there is - then looks up at Ka'el again as he discusses competitions. Skyler's winning the 'best snowthing' one - so there's no point in having it - but there are other things that could be competed. Like snow-face-smashing! Which evidently Skyler is also competing in. He's competing in 'drinking', too, but he's not very good at that one. The prize might go to someone else, at least if he can't manage to find his mouth. But competitions do make people happy! "…especially if they win." She grins, then admits, "Or something fun, yeah. Should send them all sledding, maybe. But we'll do it ourselves first." Just the three of them! Or maybe two of them at a time with one to watch… or drag the sled, if all the hills turn out to be too steep. "Tomorrow, if we can." If meetings don't compete for longest meeting ever. "Tonight, though… you don't need mashed carrots. You're not a snow-person yet. But Skyler… you want some carrots, right?" …just flail your arms if you agree, kay?
"Xanadu's Day of Sledding," muses Ka'el, trying the impromptu title on for size. "…I like it. I approve. This should happen … after we test out the snow first," he agrees with a nod. First they sled, then everyone else can sled after! Ka'el definitely wouldn't mind being the draftrunner that pulls his little family along on their day. Just hitch him up to a sled and off they'll go, yeehaw! "Maybe we can convince someone with the know-how to rig up a place to ice skate. Don't think the lake's frozen over enough, an' I wouldn't trust it not to fall through anyway," he says thoughtfully. The last thing they need is a tragedy on a fun day! The news that he doesn't get mashed carrots is celebrated. Skyler…wait. Did he just stop flailing his arms? Yes…yes he did! But, oh, it's only so that he can sneeze and expel a charming glob of drool from nose and mouth in the process. Heh..yaaay babies…and all of their…excretions. "Nice.." muses Ka'el at the messy-faced Skyler. But at least his arms get to moving again, which is a definite yes to mashed carrots! Right after a cleanup. Ka'el picks himself up off the ground, and after a swipe to his trousers, offers to take Sir-Makes-A-Mess from her so she can get up too. "That looked like a cue," he smirks. "Let's clean up and warm up. Ice cream's sounding real good to me." And Skyler can have some too! If he eats all his carrots. Or…makes it through a meal without getting carrots everywhere. He'll take either!
Soriana grins, and nods her agreement about sledding and ice-skating both. "Someone from… iceskatecraft." Which is a real craft that actually exists, honest! "The lake freezes pretty hard some winters, but…" Eh, it's probably better not to risk it. Not when there are better things to do, like… eat mashed carrots! Skyler will love… er. No flailing. Is this an anti-carrot statement? A lack of enthusiasm? …nah. It's not a lack of drool and phlegm, either, because he's got plenty of those. "Aaand yeah, let's get him inside before that freezes." Soriana lifts Skyler up into Ka'el's arms, then pushes herself up as well. "I think I'm half snow-person," she says with a laugh. That's probably a good thing, because with the way Skyler is around mealtimes, even if she isn't eating mashed carrots she'll probably be wearing them. Which means that the ice cream is - as well as being nutritious (it's made from milk!) - also a reward for them getting through mealtime with him.
Booger baby is in his father's arm's now. Yay! They're going somewhere. Skyler likes going places, even if it's the same places over and over again. He's the traveling sort of baby that likes looking at things and seeing things, and with the change of season, there are so many new looking things to see and experience! This first winter of his has gotten off to a grand start. What more fun things are in store for him? Only time will tell, but his immediate future consists of nose wiping and peeling off the layers of wet clothing before eating smashed up food. "It's almost tempting to stay out here an' see what it'd look like when it freezes…" muses Ka'el with a contemplative look to Skyler. Heh. Naaah. He looks much better without snot all over his face! Skyler is held in one arm, and he lightly brushes at Soriana's clothing once she's up. "Skyler's a snowperson. You're half. S'only a matter of time before I start turning, too. I'd better eat meat while I can, cuz soon…s'gonna be nothing but mashed carrots in my life." He makes a face. Yuck. He peers at Skyler. "What is it about that stuff that you like?" He grins and gives his head a shake before moving along with Soriana, back to the warmth of their cottage, to prepare for the next epic match of the day: Skyler vs. Carrots!